NOVEMBER DEVOTIONS ON THE CHRISTIAN FAITHFUL DEPARTED
A Devotion by Bishop Anthony on Psalm 130: 'De Profundis'. The Psalm for the Holy Departed
“Out of the Deep have I called unto Thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my voice.”
Is our cry from the depths of the earth, or from the depths of our human need for the living God and for his mercy? It is, surely, only if we love Him, that we ask Him to hear our voice!
“O, let Thine ears consider well: the voice of my complaint”
But what is our complaint against God, Who loves us so much? Monsignor Ronald Knox, in his 1950s translation of the Douay Bible puts it differently, by saying: “Let Thy ears be attentive to the voice that calls on Thee for pardon.” This is a more literal translation of the Latin and Greek versions. And, in the hour of our death, is more appropriate! For this is indeed the Psalm for our dear Departed. God gives free Will to human-kind, and free Reign to the elements which cause such havoc in the World. If this were not so, we would be nothing but puppets on a string. Underneath are the Everlasting Arms – and our ultimate destiny, as I so often say, is ‘elsewhere' where God is! He does not punish us by human disasters! He gives us life, and wishes us to live according to his Will, even though He has given us a Will of our own! Out of the Deep, we can only beg for His help and for His Divine Mercy!
“If Thou, Lord, wilt be extreme to mark what is done amiss: O, Lord who may abide it?”
Monsignor Knox writes instead (though it means the same) of God keeping record of our iniquities. Who indeed could stand in the Courts of Heaven, once we have passed through Purgatory, if a loving God had not forgiven us our many and varied misdeeds! When did YOU last kneel down privately and ask for God's mercy? When did you last go to Confession and tell everything to a priest, who is himself also a sinner? If we are truly sorry, then God will not keep record against us, because of the Blood of Jesus, shed in agony on Calvary. This is why Jesus came into the world, and died in agony for us.
“For there is mercy with Thee: therefore shalt Thou be feared.”
Surely we should love and adore the living God, not fear Him! Monsignor Knox has a kinder phrase, again more true to the ancient texts: “Be Thy Name ever revered.” We should only fear God if we have deserted His love for us, sinned in some terrible way, and never repented. Will you all make your Confession before Christmass, and so live happily and safely in the love of God, and of Jesus and Mary!
“I look for the Lord; my soul doth wait for Him: in His word is my trust.”
His word is of everlasting promise! When we Christians leave this mortal life, there is an eternal Home!
“My soul fleeth unto the Lord, before the morning watch, I say, before the morning watch.”
Patient as the watchman at dawn: but watching for what? The redemption Of Israel. But that is the heavenly Israel – our destiny! Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and the Jews: Our Lord's own people!
“O Israel, trust in the Lord, for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption.”
O, Precious Blood of Christ, shed for us on the Cross – if we believe, but only if we believe. “Poured out for you and many others, for the remission of sins.” You do want to be with Jesus eternally, don't you?
“And He shall redeem Israel from all his sins.”
He already has – in that sweet Blood, willingly and freely poured out in agony on Calvary! We, dear brethren, are the new Israel, and this psalm, yes, a lament and pious supplication for the dead, speaks to us of our own mortality, but specially of our eternal +Reward if we follow Jesus to our last moments.
Let us pray: Grant, Lord, to the souls of the Faithful Departed, many of whom we have known and loved, the Remission of all their sin; that, by our loving supplication, they may obtain that pardon which they always desired. Through our Lord and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Amen.
And a Passing Thought
If a tiny spark of God's love already burns in you, do not expose it to the wind, for it may get blown out.
[Saint Charles Borromeo]
REST ETERNAL GRANT TO THEM, LORD: AND LET LIGHT PERPETUAL SHINE ON THEM!
GRANT TO THY FAITHFUL SERVANTS, LORD: THE JOYOUS LIGHT OF THY KINGDOM!
LET US PRAY FOR EACH OTHER: THAT WE MAY, ONE DAY: MERRILY MEET IN HEAVEN!
MOST HOLY MARY, OUR LADY OF VICTORIES: KEEP US CLOSE TO JESUS AND TO THEE!